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Prints, 21st Century

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Abuela (Grandmother)

21st Century
20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)

Paul Valadez, American, b. 1965

Object Type: PRINTS
Creation Place: North America
Medium and Support: Screen Print
Credit Line: Gift of the Artist
Accession Number: 15-G-3684

Label from Border Crossings: Immigration in Contemporary Prints, La Salle University Art Museum, March 16 - June 9, 2016:

Abuela started out as an acrylic on canvas painting in my series of works entitled Mujeres. The piece was selected to be published by the Serie Project in Austin, TX. This image is my response to a couple of life events.

After my grandmother died, I was visiting my parents and while looking through some old papers, I came across a photo of a pretty young woman. I asked my father who it was and he said, “That’s my mother,” and then it dawned on me, that I could never know my grandmother as young woman, and I had never put much thought into her being young. She had always been my grandmother, my abuela. I thought about this for a while, about how I could create a piece of work in response to this enlightenment.

While teaching I had a student in her 30s who was having childcare issues. I told her that if her child was quiet she could bring her to class from time to time. She took me up on my offer, and the child sat quietly in art class with no problems at all. When I commented on how well-behaved her child was, she laughed and said, “Oh, no this is not my child, this is my grandchild.” My student had her daughter when she was 16 and her child had a baby at 15. It turned out she was a 35 year old grandmother.

I wanted to comment upon this, as it also fits in with my work Abuela. The image is not a likeness of my grandmother or my student, but a composite created to spark a dialog.

— Paul Valadez

Current Location: In Storage


Border Crossings: Immigration in Contemporary Prints, Curated by Klare Scarborough, La Salle University Art Museum, March 16 - June 9, 2016.


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